This picture is floating around the Internet. (Floating. Get it?)
It looks amazing, and kind of convincing. Well actually, it’s not that convincing.
The debate is raging online as to whether this lion’s mane jellyfish is real or not. Based on a simple, scientific websearch of the Cyanea capillata, it’s fairly easy to find reasons to believe that this photo is fake. Sure, it’s a huge jellyfish, but it’s not that big. The largest documented specimen, from 1870, was just over 7 feet in diameter. Again, that’s really big, but it’s nothing compared to what this photo indicates. Its tentacles are the really impressive part, and can grow up to over 100 feet.
There’s a healthy discussion happening at snopes.com that also seems to convincingly argue that this photo is fake. The diver looks pretty photoshopped, actually. And if he’s carrying some huge camera, where is his sweet photo to verify the close encounter? But of course, that’s not enough to verify whether or not this photo is real.
Here’s a far more typical lion’s mane jellyfish in action.